NUFC prepare to pay tribute to Gary Speed

GARY Speed had “the time of his life” at Newcastle United – and the club’s ready to pay a fitting tribute to the midfielder.

Speed’s tragic and untimely death late last month shocked football.

And the talented player’s will to win on the pitch, and professionalism off the field, left an indellible impression on Tyneside.

John Carver worked with Speed at Newcastle and Sheffield United and the club’s assistant manager was hit hard by Speed’s passing, which will be marked before tomorrow’s home game against Swansea City.

Opera singer Gwyn Hughes Jones will lead a rendition of Welsh hymn Bread of Heaven, and cards in the East Stand at St James’s Park will pick out No11, his squad number during his six years at the club.

The tribute was postponed from United’s last home game against Chelsea at the request of his widow, Louise, who will attend the game along with a number of his close family.

“I’ve been talking to Gary’s dad – there’s a good group of his family, about 17, coming up for the game,” Carver said.

“The club’s been great, and I hope it’s a fitting tribute to such a fantastic player and person. His family were so desperate to be at St James’s Park for it. They wanted to be here.

“He said on a number of occasion, to myself and others, that he had the time of his life at Newcastle. He played some of the best football of his career for the club.

“His family loved the area, and the region, and they wanted to be part of what the club had planned.”